Jack Straw Corrupt Practices 92


I was frankly astonished by commenters on the last thread who claimed not to understand that it was an offence to distribute free food and drink at an election rally. For the avoidance of further doubt, here is the law in question, from the Representation of the People Act 1983:

114.-(1) A person shall be guilty of a corrupt practice if he .

is guilty of treating.

(2) A person shall be guilty of treating if he corruptly, by

himself or by any other person, either before, during or after an

election, directly or indirectly gives or provides, or pays wholly

or in part the expense of giving or providing, any meat, drink,

entertainment or provision to or for any person-

(a) for the purpose of corruptly influencing that person or

any other person to vote or refrain from voting ; or

(b) on account of that person or any other person having

voted or refrained from voting, or being about to vote

or refrain from voting.

(3) Every elector or his proxy who corruptly accepts or takes

any such meat, drink, entertainment or provision shall also be

guilty of treating.

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1983/pdf/ukpga_19830002_en.pdf

This provision was first contained in the1832 Reform Act specifically to outlaw the practice of giving food and drink at election meetings. It has been reaffirmed in every Representation of the People Act since 1832.

This is an imprisonable criminal offence. It is not just an electoral regulation.

Tomorrow I will deliver several affidavits sworn before solicitors to Blackburn police. This is one example:

I,,,,, OF ,,,,,,, BLACKBURN DO HEREBY AFFIRM AS FOLLOWS:

THAT

1, I attended an event in Audley yesterday on Sunday 25 April 2010 at Jan’s Conference Centre in Blackburn.

2. I heard that Mohammad Sarwar MP and the ex Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir Sultan Mahmood were going to be present.

3. I can confirm that the people on the stage were Mohammed Sarwar MP, Barrister Sultan Mahmood, Jack Straw MP, the ex Mayor Salas Kiyani, Lord Adam Patel and others.

4. They all gave speeches to support and ask us to vote for Jack Straw in the MP elections.

5. We were given free food consisting of roti, meat curry, sweet rice and coke.

I CONFIRM THAT THE CONTENTS OF THIS AFFADAVIT ARE TRUE AND TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE AND BELIEF

Affirmed this 26th day of April 2010

By the within named …… at

BLACKBURN in the County of Lancashire

Before me

M Wrendall,

Solicitor and Commissioner for Oaths

The question raised is a stark one. Are New Labour ministers above the law? I have absolutely no doubt that if I, when an independent parliamentary candidate, had provided food for several hundred electors at a rally, I would have been jailed for it.

STOP PRESS

The blog is infested by a number of commenters who are trying to argue that Jack Straw was not in breach of the law in just giving a meal. This is however precisely what the law was to outlaw. This Hansard extract on a discussion of an amendment to set a value limit is instructive – the amendment was defeated.

|| MR. WARTON said, the Amendment he now proposed to move was one which provided some kind of limit. Ho moved the insertion, at the end of the clause, of the words?” Provided always, That such meat, drink entertainment, or provisions shall exceed in value the sum of one shilling. He thought that, on the principle de minimis non curat lex, they should not legislate with regard to what a high authority had called “trivial expenditure,” and that the giving to a voter of a small quantity of meat or bread not exceeding in value 1s., should not subject persons to severe pains and penalties. Ho hoped that the hon. and learned Gentleman would accept the Amendment. The hon. and learned Gentleman had very kindly accepted other Amendments, and he hoped the hon. and learned Gentleman would continue the same conciliatory course. He understood that the regular Birmingham breakfast provided for the electors of the borough cost 1s. 6d. a head. He did not wish to be so corrupt as they 578 were in Birmingham; but he thought there could be no harm in providing refreshments which should not cost more than 1s. He knew the price of beer, and they could get tolerable beer for 8d. or 10d. a pot.

|| MR. ONSLOW And for half that price.

|| MR. WARTON said, he saw no reason why a drink of beer and a crust of bread, which cost less than 1s., should be regarded as a corrupt expenditure. He hoped the Committee would not deem it desirable to increase the expenditure of Election Petitions by trying every case in which a man had received less than 1s. worth of refreshment.

|| Amendment proposed, In line 1, page 23, at end, to add “Provided always, That such meat, drink, entertainment or provision shall exceed in value the sum of one shilling.”?”(Mr. Warton.)

|| Question proposed, “That those words be there added.”

|| SIR CHARLES W. DILKE said, he could not accept the Amendment, which would simply have the effect of legalizing an improper expenditure for drink and. treating, providing that the treating did not exceed the value of 1s. He could not think the Committee would feel inclined to accept such an Amendment.

http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1883/jun/14/parliamentary-elections-corrupt-and#S3V0280P0_18830614_HOC_159

It could not be more clear that what Jack Straw did is a criminal offence.


92 thoughts on “Jack Straw Corrupt Practices

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  • glenn

    Abe – “Threat”? Come now! Anyway, let’s be serious about this treating business. Look at this extract from The Pickwick Papers to see just a partial example of how rotten and corrupt elections were in Dickens’ time:

    http://www.historyhome.co.uk/readings/election.htm

    Are you actually prepared to believe that Straw – purely out of the goodness of his heart, and without the idea of gaining votes crossing his mind – woke up one morning and thought he’d put a smile on the faces of 700 people? People that just happened to be voters in his own district?

    There appears to be some chin-rubbing about whether this was with “corrupt intent” or not. If – in this spirit of this law – we’re talking about swaying voting intent, then how could it not be with “corrupt intent”? What else do you think that law is for?

    Did you also notice in yesterday’s blog entry of 11:19, how:

    –start quote

    … an independent candidate, Bushra Irfan, was reported to the police by the returning officer for an internet page that suggested that food would be given at a meeting. Irfan’s campaign apologised and removed the offending page; no food was given.

    —end quote

    There doesn’t seem to be any confusion in that case!

    The way some people here would ponder over “corrupt intent” would render this law completely pointless. The law is to prevent candidates winning favours by bribing voters – whether by putting £10 notes in their pockets, or by providing them with free food and drink.

  • ScouseBilly

    Craig, what are the chances, if the LibDems either win outright or form a coalition government, that we will have a proper judicial inquiry into the Iraq war?

  • Vronsky

    I’ve worked on a number of by-elections as an SNP canvasser/leafletter and in all of them I expect to find soup and sandwiches in the breaks back at campaign HQ (occasionally speeches from party leaders too, but nothing in this life is perfect). It distinguishes our campaigns from the others – while they trudge around spitting at each other, we’re actually having quite a good time. Is this illegal?

  • angrysoba

    Vronsky, you sound like one of those infesters.

    But seriously, I don’t know how this law is supposed to be applied because, if I remember correctly, even your own campaign in Norwich sounded like you ended each canvassing trip with some kind of party with a band. Surely it becomes a bit difficult to know where it stops given that the law you quoted includes “entertainment”.

  • Abe Rene

    Glenn

    I believe the smiles Jack Straw wanted to put on faces were those of his own party members. That is, he went up there to give 700 party activists in the Muslim community a good meal and a pep talk. The whole thing was a morale boost. That’s what I think was going on. That’s precisely why I don’t regard it as an attempted bribe to vote Nulab – I believe they were all Nulab voters anyway.

  • Steve

    You lot wouldnt make good policemen firstly if they are all his supporters then why were they holding an election rally urging them to vote and as people are swearing afidavits as we speak that were there they are not supporters. It is obvious this was a public election meeting with the sole purpose to get people to vote for him. Not a few party workers having a few beers after a hard days campaigning in a private house with no speaches and no public. Stop looking for excusing the unexcuable this is what it looks like a simple breach of the law.

  • angrysoba

    Mark, I don’t think that “holistic thinking” really means anything in the context you use it.

    By the way, it is naughty of you to link to such seriously off-topics as that.

    If you really want, I’ll put up a post on my blog and won’t censor or edit anything.

    Just say “Yea” or “Nay” to that.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Angrysober,

    Holistic thinking means everything and recognises that there is point in our modern post war time-line where justification for illegal wars by distorting the truth and engineering catalysts for increasing attempts to shut down public opinion, including booting dissenting voices out of Parliament, cover-ups and encouraging excuses by those who spend copious amounts of time attacking holistic views, distorting evidence and creating confusion, is polarizing our existence.

    All substantiated and reflected in the present loss of public confidence in our ‘big brother’ society.

    A ‘hung’ parliament is now ‘de rigeur’ and has spiralled into a ‘rush’ of detailed ‘how-to’s’ on-line to achieve this outcome.

    A ‘hung’ parliament is our voice and our dissatisfaction and concern; holistic thinking ‘in action’ by the British people.

    “You are either with us or against us.”

  • mbotta

    off-topic:

    (doubly off-topic, really; for one, this comment is not about the post at hand. moreover, craig being an expert on uzbekistan does not automatically make him an expert on kyrgyzstan. nevertheless, lacking other prominent experts on the region, it’s worth a try).

    craig, it appears that the us have obtained a renewal of their lease on the military base they operate in kyrgyzstan. savoury detail is that this happened one day after the forceful removal of the president. also, it happened without consent of parliament, because – quoting the bbc article – “there was currently no parliament in place”.

    this from the bbc news site, via legitgov.org, a site you recommended not long ago.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8624723.stm

    do you have an opinion about this coincidence?

    thanks,

    mbotta

  • writerman

    I am not, in any way, a fan of Jack Straw. I think he’s guilty as hell of numerous, serious, international, war crimes, which I love him to be prosecuted for and hopefully found guilty.

    I just don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell of a court finding him guilty of corruption in relation to the crime of treating in Blackburn. Saying that one doubts it can be proven that Straw is guilty isn’t the same thing as meaning that he isn’t guilty. My opinion of Straw is irrelevant in this case, my loathing and antipathy towards the man and everything he stands for, doesn’t matter.

    Years ago… if my memory serves me well…I was at a meeting of the NSU, rememeber them. I was a delegate, and a local, charismatic, star. Anyway, Jack Straw was on his way up too, up the greasy and easy pole of student politics, and who knew where else? So, up steps Jack and vigourously attacks a motion… until someone shouted that executive actually supported it.

    Whoops for Jack. Almost without missing a heartbeat, our honest Jack Straw, completely reverses the thrust of his speech and is now pasionately and vigourously in favour of the motion.

    It was things like this that turned me off student politics and the greasy pole and heights one could rise to, if one had the temperament and stomach for it. Britain, and the world, was saved from the ravages of Tony Blair’s evil twin.

  • angrysoba

    Mark, what you wrote there is meaningless babble. Even you must know that.

    “Holistic thinking means everything” which is no different to saying “holistic” means “nothing”.

    “recognises that there is point in our modern post war time-line where justification for illegal wars by distorting the truth and engineering catalysts for increasing attempts to shut down public opinion, including booting dissenting voices out of Parliament, cover-ups and encouraging excuses”.

    What the bloody hell are you talking about? This was far more prevalent in George Orwell’s time both before and during world war two. Why on Earth do you think that freedoms have been eroded post-war?

    “attacking holistic views, distorting evidence and creating confusion, is polarizing our existence.”

    Wrong. Your use of “holistic” just sounds like a New Age departure from “thought”.

    What creates confusion is the fact there are many different outlets for opinions these days – a good thing – but such a diversity of thought means that it is difficult for people to agree.

    Whereas many of you (Mark Golding, MJ, dreiloin etc…) like to talk about an oppressive authoritarian viewpoint imposed from on high the reality is starkly different. You can read news from almost anywhere in the world and form your opinions from millions of blogs or overseas news sources.

    The problem is that even the most extreme minority views that are usually spread very thinly around the world such as the paranoid community can form a large self-reinforcing bloc when online gradually tending towards the more extreme and conspiratorial end of the political spectrum.

    If one in a thousand people can think 2 plus 2 equals 5 then there are millions of people around the world who can believe it and they can form their own little communities online telling each other it is true and presenting “evidence” for it that their governments suppress and reinforcing each others’ mistaken beliefs.

    There will also those who think that some people will prefer 2 plus 2 to equal 4 and others to prefer it to equal 5 and that everyone should be allowed to believe what they want. That there is no “TRUTH”. Always watch out for those as they will tend to be more dogmatic than others, ironically.

    Anyway, sorry if I have derailed this thread. I didn’t do it on purpose and certainly not for Jack Straw’s benefit.

  • Craig

    Vornsky

    It probably is not illegal to feed your own party workers privately. But this was not the same thing at all. It was an election rally to urge several hundred electors to vote.

  • Jives

    @ angrysoba

    “Whereas many of you (Mark Golding, MJ, dreiloin etc…) like to talk about an oppressive authoritarian viewpoint imposed from on high the reality is starkly different. You can read news from almost anywhere in the world and form your opinions from millions of blogs or overseas news sources.”

    With respect i disagree.I believe that the MSM bludgeons us with a concerted message that is promoted/engineered from on high.The opinions of millions of satellite blogs exist as a howl of outrage at the Manichean simplicities and,often,downright bulllshit that the MSM-with its huge influence-bombards us with.

  • Clark

    Angrysoba,

    I agree with Jives. The Internet has given the public a voice, but the mainstream media still has overwhelmingly larger amplifiers and speakers.

    There are millions (including myself) who consider it possible or likely that Dr Kelly was murdered.

    “Holistic” has been overused by the New Age community, but that doesn’t make it the opposite of thought, it is about looking at the bigger picture.

    Dr Halpin is not a “loon”, he is conscientious and works hard to alleviate suffering in Gaza.

  • Craig

    Abe Rene

    I am in Blackburn. I have just returned from handing in affidavits to he police. I have met and interviewed many of the people involved.

    As I have said to you now three times, the people were by no means all Labour Party. Why you insist on putting forward a theory based on demonstrably false “facts” I have no idea.

  • Anonymous

    They might work for the sleazy labour propoganda machine. Urgent message to yanks, urgent regime change required in the UK, they got WMD’s

  • glenn

    Clark: Don’t you know that a “loon” is defined as anybody who disagrees with AngryLarry?

  • angrysoba

    “the mainstream media still has overwhelmingly larger amplifiers and speakers.”

    Well surely that has always been the case. It makes no sense to rail against “influential people being influential” but does make sense to say, for example, look at the way that Rupert Murdoch’s broadcasters have rigged the debate, which Craig did. I can get on board with that.

    Similarly, good luck with taking Jack Straw to task if he is buying votes and the same to general campaigns for stopping individuals being deported or tortured.

    Again, very laudable and worthy of respect and support.

    Glenn: I consider a loon someone who tries to argue black is white or thinks that we all need to “get all holistic and stuff”. I.E withdrawing from any rational debate and focusing on crazy shit.

  • glenn

    Abe Rene: What causes you to “believe” (in your 14:26 post) these things to the extent that you have such confidence in Straw’s benign motives? I’m rather puzzled at why you think this spineless crook has suddenly become beyond reproach, in your mind, to the extent that you’ll “believe” almost anything that puts him in a good light.

  • mary

    Ruth left a post on the previous thread about Sarwarr’s son Athif, who was jailed for 3 years for his massive caousel VAT fraud and who was released after two weeks on compassionate grounds. An appeal was pending in July 2007 but no trace can be found of the outcome or indeed if one was heard. What a corrupt legal system there must be in Scotland.

    Whilst looking I came across this previous thread of Craig’s and was staggered to read that Straw had done this treating before.

    http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2007/06/jack_straw_shou_1.html

    Is there no end to these miscreants’ trickeries.

  • Arsalan

    Look, I’m telling you again. Find out who the caterers were, if it is anything but HMC tell everyone it was Harram.

    You white guys don’t understand Asians in general and Muslim northern Asians in particular.

    People from the Indian subcontinent are not particularly religious, but when it comes to food and whether or not it is Hallal they are very serious.

    Find out who provided the food.

    Jack Straw is a Zionist, he supported two wars against Islam, and all this was tolerable for northern Muslims who voted him in. But Harram food labelled as Hallal, well that is where their tolerance ends.

  • Craig

    Arsalan,

    I don’t doubt the food was halal. That is nothing to do with why it was illegal.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Whatever’s happened to Larry? Is he not interested in UK domestic politics? Or has he jumped onto a bus to the Mid-West? He never responded to any of my rather polite invitations, did he? Ah, snubbed! Just… the silence (of the lambs), emanating from the depths of Vauxhall. Perhaps, then, the domestic arena is being left to a different set of hired hands – as the old folk song runs, “let’s go for a jolly jaunt o’er Lambeth Bridge, tra-la-la, tree-lee-lee”.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “Muslim northern Asians” Arsalan

    Eee by gum, me lad, it’s a rum do an no mistakin it! The stra’ man’s been mekin ‘ay! As me moother used te say, it were nowt else but a big Testie Festy!

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